In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 (NIV)
I first met Anna* at church – a noisy, come-and-go Romany church with services in Sinti Romani with simultaneous translation into Dutch. Anna, with her 7 or 8 children, more grandchildren, and at least as many great-grandchildren, was the senior woman in this woonwagonkamp (trailer park). She had been instrumental in her husband, the local barro or leader, becoming a Christian years earlier. She had mentored younger Sinti women in the faith. And she taught me, with my two degrees and years of Bible study, a very important lesson as well.
Before we met, I had assumed that a major part of Christian growth involved reading and study – personal devotions, group Bible studies, thought-provoking books. How did functionally illiterate Christians (like Anna) mature (like Anna)? I didn’t get it until I got to know her better. She is a woman of the Word – not the static word caught in print, but the living Word speaking to her through worship, speaking to her in crisis when she fasts and prays, speaking in fellowship with other Christians. She may be shaky about Biblical history, but very firmly teaches others about this Word by sharing stories of God at work in her own history. Thank you, Anna, for teaching me as well.
* Name changed for privacy
- For Romany Christians to mature in faith and, like Anna, disciple other Romany;
- For Christians everywhere to humbly learn from one another.
Mary van Rheenen, Resource Coordinator